Dona Bailey Visits Venture Center for Code•It!

Dona Bailey, Arkansas Game Development Pioneer

On Tuesday, September 22, 2015, ground-breaking arcade developer, Dona Bailey spoke at the Venture Center as part of the popular technical speaker series, Code•It!

She shared memories of the early days of coding at Atari.  Her stories shared technical challenges but were interesting and accessible for all who attended.

After her talk, Ms. Bailey took time to greet attendees of the program and take pictures in front of the "Centipede Selfie Station."

Watch Dona Bailey's Presentation

About Dona Bailey

Dona Bailey is an American game programming pioneer who, along with Ed Logg in 1981, created the arcade video game Centipede.  At the time, Centipede was the first video game to have a female player following and spawned the sequel Millipede. 

As a young programmer Bailey was hired by General Motors and trained in assembly language programming. She worked there for two years on displays, and microprocessor-based cruise control systems. She became interested in Space Invaders and the world of arcade games, another application of the work she was doing at GM. She found out that Atari was using the same microprocessor in its games.

In 1980, Bailey joined Atari's coin-op division, where she was the only woman.In an interview Bailey recalled that Atari had a notebook of possible game ideas at the time. Of the 30 or so entries the only one without "lasering or frying things" was a short description of a bug winding down the screen. "[I]t didn't seem bad to shoot a bug".

In 2007, she was the keynote speaker at the Women in Games International Conference. Bailey holds M.Ed. and M.A. degrees and teaches as a faculty member in the department of Rhetoric and Writing at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

**Adapted from Wikipedia

Take a trip back to the future--at least as it was in 1981. Click on the image to play Centipede.